Active volcanoes and lava flow that contribute to the growth of the island of Hawai’i may be the main attraction of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, but with over 500 square miles of natural wonders and history, there’s so much more to see.
For a park as large as Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, located on the island of Hawai’i–the largest, yet the youngest island of the chain in the Pacific and home to two active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa–where to begin and what to see might feel overwhelming. With so much ground to cover and for visitors who might only have a few hours to spend, the park’s suggested driving tours just make sense.
Chain of Craters Road driving tour takes you through the park to crater lookouts and scenic points. There are ten designated stops throughout the just-under-20-mile route, starting from Lua Manu Crater all the way down to the Hōlei Sea Arch.
The drive is easy and laid back–there is no need to rush from point to point, there are plenty of opportunities to pull over for a photo-op or hop out of the car for a quick hike through one of the numerous trails.
Towards the park entrance near the Kīlauea Visitor Center is Crater Rim Drive, which passes through natural steam vents and leads to the Jaggar Museum where an overlook provides clear panoramic views of the Kīlauea caldera, Halemaʻumaʻu crater, and the vast Ka’u desert.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.